UNITED NATIONS (Jan. 25)
Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring, the Secretary General’s Middle East representative, is going to Senegal and Mauritania because he was invited and it would be “discourteous” of him not to accept, some Western officials said today. But American officials said they knew of no such invitation–allegedly from Senegalese President Leopold Senghor, head of the recent African peace mission to Israel and Egypt–and called Dr. Jarring’s trip part of the “Waldheim initiative” of the Secretary General Kurt Waldheim.
When Waldheim met with American leaders in Washington yesterday, the US sources said, he was told that the Nixon administration “highly approves” of his efforts to renew the blocked Jarring mission. Other sources suggested that Senghor issued his invitation at Waldheim’s request. The Swedish diplomat is scheduled to fly to Dakar, Senegal, Thursday to see Senghor and then go to Nouakchott, Mauritania, to see President Moktar Ould Daddah, president of the Organization of African Unity.
The African initiative, “which looked so promising last fall,” is still worthy of being revived, the American sources said. The African report, which concluded that there were sufficient areas of general agreement between Israel and Egypt to allow the Jarring mission to continue, was overshadowed by the African-Asian resolution passed by the General Assembly by a vote of 79-7 with 36 abstentions and 10 absentees. That resolution, which emphasized Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab territory, was pushed by Cairo under pressure from militant Egyptian factions, the sources noted.
Asked why Dr. Jarring, who favors a low profile and quiet diplomacy, would undertake a highly visible flight to Africa, instead of simply conferring with Senegalese and other African representatives here, an American official said the intermediary “quite obviously” prefers to see heads of state personally instead of getting bogged down in a series of transcontinental cables between the African delegates and their governments. Asked if Waldheim has had any thought of replacing Dr. Jarring, who was appointed by former Secretary General Thant four years ago, the US official said: “No, that would mean admitting the failure of his mission.”